Logan Mankins, Patriots Preparing for Well-Fed Ravens Defense


January 19, 2012

FOXBORO, Mass. — The Ravens' defense is stacked with some unusually massive human beings, and the Patriots' offensive linemen are gearing up for a larger-than-life test.

Defensive linemen Terrence Cody (349 pounds), Brandon McKinney (345 pounds) and Haloti Ngata (330 pounds) comprise one of the most sizeable fronts in the NFL. The Ravens and Packers are the only two teams in the league with three defensive players listed at 330 pounds or more.

While listed weights should always be taken with a grain of salt — especially if that salt is layered on top of a plate of fries — the point remains: The Ravens are huge, and they use their size to play with power.

"They're very physical," Patriots left guard Logan Mankins said. "They have numerous guys that are at least 350 pounds, so they have some big guys."

Ngata gets plenty of the attention, and deservedly so. He's one of the best in the game at his position, and he's the Ravens' own version of Vince Wilfork.

Baltimore's hefty front creates opportunities for everyone to make plays, particularly linebacker Terrell Suggs, whose 14 sacks in the regular season ranked fifth in the NFL. And despite the fact that no one else on the Ravens had more than six sacks — a number that would rank 49th in the league — their 48 sacks were the third most in the NFL.

Now, it's up to the New England offensive line to make sure the Ravens' ravenous front doesn't treat Tom Brady like a buffet stand.

"This will be the most physical front we've faced all year, by far," right guard Brian Waters said. "That's something that if you watch them, it doesn't take long to figure out that's what they drive and thrive upon — being physical, really trying to overwhelm you on defense, getting to the ball, going after the football. And that's the way they hit, the way they attack the quarterback, the way they shed blockers. That's definitely an emphasis on their football team."

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